The Pandoc Acronym Filter documentation

Pandoc acro Filter

This filter provides a means to manage acronyms in Pandoc flavored Markdown sources. It aims to do for Pandoc what the acro package does for LaTeX. As such, it’s initial goal is to translate marked acronyms into the appropriate acro LaTeX macros. It does this by extracting acronym definitions in the metadata acronyms map and looking for keys in the main text that begin with a ‘+’ such as +afaik. The keys can be normal string words or they can use the native span syntax to override the local formatting. For details, see the Usage section below.


To install, download the source and run python install from the top of the source tree. Then pass pandoc-acro as a filter to Pandoc e.g.

pandoc -F pandoc-acro


Acronym Definitions

To define an acronym, place it in the acronyms map in the metadata. The syntax is designed to replicate that used by the LaTeX acro package. Each acronym must define a long and short form. Beyond the minimum, each acronym can define:

  • short-plural: The plural ending of the short form. Defaults to ‘s’.

  • long-plural: The plural ending of the long form. Defaults to ‘s’.

An example metadata block would be:

    short: AFAIK
    long: as far as I know
    short: lol
    long: laugh out loud
    short-plural: es  # Contrived for example purposes
    long-plural: es   # Contrived for example purposes

The only reserved acronym is options which is reserved for passing additional options to the \acsetup macro in LaTeX. The options are translated to the form key=value and are passed as a comma separated option to \acsetup. The filter will try to sanity check the options. If it cannot convert the option to a string or boolean, the option is skipped and a warning is issued. If it is a known option used by the filter, it checks for a valid value and issues a warning if it is not valid but it still passes the option to \acsetup.

Inline Usage

The simplest usage in text is to prepend a key with ‘+’ such as +afaik. This will expand to the long form followed by the short inside parentheses on first usage and by the short form on subsequent use. The aim is to replicate the behavior of the acro package from LaTeX. The default behavior can be overridden by placing the key in a span and specifying the short, long, or full class. To get the plural form, set the plural class in the span, and to set the initial capitalization use caps. To be clear, the mapping is:



Expanded text



as far as I know (AFAIK)







[+afaik]{.short .plural}





as far as I know

[+afaik]{.long .plural}


as far as I knows



as far as I know (AFAIK)

[+afaik]{.full .plural}


as far as I knows (AFAIKs)

[+afaik]{.short .caps}



[+afaik]{.short .plural .caps}



[+afaik]{.long .caps}


As far as I know

[+afaik]{.long .plural .caps}


As far as I knows

[+afaik]{.full .caps}


As far as I know (AFAIK)

[+afaik]{.full .plural .caps}


As far as I knows (AFAIKs)

Additionally, one can specify the acronym with * after the +. This sets the “starred” version of the LaTeX macro. In the LaTeX output, this places a * after the macro but before the opening {. Per the acro documentation, this indicates “don’t count as usage.” Therefore, in the plain text output the rules are:

  1. Every usage respects the “full,” “short,” or “long” designation.

  2. Usages before the first one that “counts” are expanded to the full form by default.

  3. The first usage that “counts” is respected as the first usage and expanded as full by default.

  4. All usages after the first usage are expanded to the short form by default.

List of Acronyms

A list of acronyms used can be generated by placing a div or header with the id acronyms in the desired location

::: {#acronyms}


last paragraph…

# Acronyms

This syntax mimics that used by Pandoc to place the bibliography; however, the list of acronyms is not printed by default.

In the LaTeX output, the div or header is replaced with \printacronyms with the following options:

  • name: The text of the header (header version only).

  • sort: The value of the sort attribute (true or false) indicating if the acronyms should be sorted.

  • level: The desired section level for the title (plain text output for div version only).

In the plain text output, the div or header is replaced with a bulleted list of acronyms in the description style of acro. For the header style, the list is placed under a heading of the appropriate level using the header’s text. For the div style, the list is created under a new level 1 header with the text “Acronyms.” The list is sorted (default) or not based on the sort attribute of the div or header.

Full and Single Use Forms

The acro package accepts the first-style option which sets the form of the first and full usages of an acronym. The valid options are: long-short (default), short-long, long , short, and footnote. For the LaTeX output, this option is passed to \acsetup. For all other outputs, the filter respects the selected style except for footnote which is not supported.

The default behavior is to typeset a single use of an acronym using the first usage. However, this can be changed using the single option. Setting this to true typesets a single usage using the style passed to the single-style option which accepts the same styles as first-style but defaults to long. The single option can also be set to an integer which sets the number of non-starred times an acronym must be used before it is considered a “single” use. If the use goes above this value, the first typesetting reverts to the usual method. Setting single=true is equivalent to single=1.

Output Format Notes


The acronyms definitions in the metadata are transformed to \DeclareAcronym commands and are added to the header-includes metadata field after \usepackage{acro} and the \acsetup command. These are entered as raw LaTeX Inlines. The running text markup is translated to the appropriate acro macro as described in the above table.

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